Lovey-dovey types seldom survive in merciless business of politics. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq proved an exception, though. Essentially a soft-natured person with a generous heart, he launched his career in electoral politics from the platform of Imran Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaf in 1997. The party established by his friend from school days failed to facilitate his growth and he finally switched to the PML-N.
That brought him first time to the national assembly in 2002 and since then he continues to win his seat from Lahore in successive elections. In May 2013, he even defeated Imran Khan in a hotly contested and keenly watched battle with a respectable margin. This victory and accumulated experience of an active parliamentarian helped him to reach the high-status office of the national assembly speaker.
Most parliamentary reporters seriously believed that Nawaz Sharif had selected a wrong person for an office that required firm handling of a deliberately chaotic crowd of attention seeking rabble-rousers, sitting in a directly elected house. Since assuming the charge of his office, however, Sardar Sadiq behaved like a different person.
Polite but unusually firm he often appeared in trying to keep the national assembly proceedings focused on the given agenda. The leaders of three main parties also helped him to enforce discipline and we started witnessing a lively yet orderly business in the house. Sadly, the trend failed to take off; it has rather withered away in first three weeks of an assembly elected around a month ago.
Ejaz-ul-Haq took the lead in demolishing the potential of a positive trend by arrogantly reacting to Nawaz Sharif’s speech in the house on June 24. On that day, the prime minister announced his government’s intent to prosecute a former dictator for his audacious acts of November 3, 2007. Ostensibly, Ejaz had been trying to protect Musharraf, but from heart of his hearts he produced scathing and provocative words to defend the doings of his father, General Zia, who had attempted to enslave minds by hanging an elected prime minister and public-flogging of dissident political workers, poets and journalists.
The agitation-driven legislators from the MQM since that day have been subverting and preventing the discipline and smooth sailings by non-stop cribbing over their party hitting the dire straits in a city, Karachi, it used to rule like a fief. Eventually, everything seems to have gone berserk in the house on Friday.
After passage of the finance bill, this was a day reserved to approve over-spending by various ministries and to deal with some auxiliary grants and demands. Ishaq Dar seemed to have been stuck in some other business, though. Taking advantage of his absence, member after member kept standing from all sides of the house to seek government’s attention on various issues that only the provincial governments could address. No minister or a specifically assigned official was found taking note of their cribbing. Yet, they kept on pleading and beseeching like hapless wretched of the earth.
Their conduct reminded me the historically recorded behavior of the so-called notables from amongst the natives of yesteryear. Throughout the British Raj, “the Commissioner Sahib Bahadurs” would often opt to act kind to their subjects by holding open courts during their occasional visits to far-flung villages and small towns. From among the obsequious crowd made to sit slavishly before those Sahibs, carefully vetted and pre-selected persons were allowed to stand up and beg for attention of the patron state to redress any issues of greater public concern in that specific area. It was nauseating to watch resurrection of the same practice in a ‘sovereign house’ elected hardly a month ago at the culmination of a spirited and viciously waged election campaign.
The mercy-seeking conduct of the public representatives on Friday also exposed that none of our major political parties had any well thought out narrative to sell and pursue. The ruling party rather feels comfortable, simply because instead of highlighting the obvious flaws and heartlessly rich-friendly sides of the first budget of third Nawaz government, the opposition members seemed to have switched their attention to very trivial and local matters.
Besides, the decision to prosecute Musharraf has already provided an engaging diversion. As if that were not enough to dilute the punitive sides of the economic agenda of this government, we now have a letter that the former secretary had allegedly written “to the Swiss authorities to protect millions that Asif Ali Zardari had slyly put in various secret bank accounts in their country.”
While the PPP keeps crying foul over “disclosure” of the said letter, the MQM feels lonely and abandoned by all the mainstream parties. Since 2002, the officials of Islamabad and Karachi always pampered the MQM. No one seems caring this time round and thus we continue to suffer jitters and tantrums that the MQM legislators keep throwing nonstop.
Imran Khan had also brought 30-plus persons to this national assembly with the promise of ‘change.’ We have yet to see them behaving differently from the crowd of legislators from other parties, replete with usual stuff that makes a politician in “old Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2013.
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@Anusha Naqvi: Kindly point out a single instance where Imran Khan attacked Ayaz Sadiq?
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is a mature person. He has seen many ups & downs. His opponent, Imran Khan used to abuse typical rants against him during the election campaign of May 2013. After defeat, Imran Khan is bound to call Ayaz Sadiq as "janab-e-Speaker". .. jissey Allah rakhay, ussay kaun chakhay ...
To the author, were you ever be pleased anyone other then PMLN ? Common information ministry will have plenty of advisor post kelp buffering you get to destination one day.